Tonight the Memorial Link goes to city council a second time. This time administration will recommend that the selection of a north-south cycling corridor be rolled into the ongoing Transportation Master Plan study. This is a mixed bag. On the one hand we’re glad the city is acknowledging the need for a safe north-south cycle route because it means that construction of such a route is inevitable (eventually). Further, integrating the study of the route into the TMP helps to remove politics from the decision making process. But there are several issues with this path forward as presented by administration.
- The memo clarifies that there’s no current plan for a North-South bike corridor within a reasonable time frame. Even the route outlined on the existing Active Transportation plan is not scheduled to be completed within 5 years. Given that a study of routes was already done more than 2 years ago it’s clear there’s a history of kicking the can on this critical infrastructure issue.
- The only route with demonstrated public support is May-Memorial (this campaign and our petitions, letters of support and endorsements)
- The May St segment represents 30% of the route and was designed to accommodate bike lanes already — it’s a cheap paint retrofit.
- There memo says nothing is preventing the Memorial Link from happening (no “insurmountable” issues) except political will and funding. The route connects the most businesses and provides the shortest connection between the historic downtowns by a large margin and whether the TMP selects it or not will not change these facts.
- In light of this the path forward is to have the project shovel ready so that when funding becomes available we’re first in line.
- It makes sense for council to agree with the memo (of course) but also to simply add the route to the existing Active Transportation Plan at the earliest possible date (now). This was one of our asks last year and hasn’t addressed.
I’ve written a piece on the Memorial Link and published it today. We will be represented at city council tonight.
Well it looks like The Memorial Link is now gaining national attention! Todd Aalgaard, a Toronto-based writer journalist, wrote a great article about the project for the Canadian Cycling Magazine. This highlights the potential for the Memorial Link to be a driver of tourism and a benefit to the local economy through tourist spending. This is great press for the City of Thunder Bay. Read the full article at: http://cyclingmagazine.ca/sections/news/five-kilometre-bike-route-proposed-in-thunder-bay-ontario-to-be-studied-reports/
City Council unanimously supported the Memorial Link tonight. This is an important accomplishment for our city and for over 1,000 Thunder Bay residents who have signed a petition in support of the project.
While Thunder Bay residents shouldn’t expect the Memorial Link to be built anytime soon, it is encouraging that this multi-year project has been set in motion.
“This is a big project and the costs associated with it aren’t insignificant. But if it is included in the planned reconstruction of Memorial as an image route, then it becomes very doable” explained Dean Stamler during the question period that followed his deputation. “A road to nowhere is better than no road at all.”
If the Memorial Link is added to the Active Transportation Plan, any reconstruction of Memorial Ave. and May St. within the Memorial Link corridor will include cycle track infrastructure to physically separate bikes from cars. It is now up to the engineering department to report back on the next steps for the project to go forward.
We’ve created a letter that you can use as a template to write the members of Thunder Bay’s city council and express your support for The Memorial Link. Contact information for all councillors can be found on the city’s website right here.
Dear Mayor and Council,
I am writing to ask you to support the Memorial Link project for its many safety, economic, environmental, and lifestyle benefits. Despite having installed nearly 50 kilometers of of cycling infrastructure, our City’s bike network is still lacking a direct and safe corridor to link the north and south cores – the Memorial Link.
The Memorial Link is a proposed 5 km physically protected lane (a cycle track) for bicycles and active transportation through the heart of Thunder Bay. It would run along May St and Memorial Ave between John St and Miles St, closely passing most businesses and amenities in the Intercity area.
Incorporating the Memorial Link and a “complete streets” design in the reconstruction of Memorial Ave. could be done within the existing 30 meter City-owned right-of-way without reducing the number of lanes open for motor traffic. It would increase safety, boost the local economy, promote health, increase accessibility, provide equality, and increase the livability of our City. It is a project that would benefit motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike and represents a great opportunity to make our City better for everyone.
Thank you for your time.
Thunder Bay Resident
The Memorial Link will be proposed to City Council on Monday, September 14, 2015. This will be our opportunity not only to present the Memorial Link and its benefits, but also to let Council know that there is tremendous support for this project within our community. In the coming days, help us let Council know that Thunder Bay residents want the Memorial Link to happen.
- Sign and share the online petition (follow this link https://goo.gl/2kGq27)
- Write your Councillor an e-mail (check out this letter template)
- Come out to the Council meeting in person, Monday September 14, 2015 at 6:30 pm at City Hall in the S.H. Blake Memorial Auditorium
You can sign the online petition even if you already signed the pen-and-paper petition. Tell your friends!! Follow this link: https://goo.gl/2kGq27